So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?
Joshua 18: 3 (NIV)
Early in my career, our company was contracted by a large, national corporation to produce and present a training program to all of their contact center employees across the nation. It was the largest project, to date, that our company had ever landed. And it was on me to write, produce, and present it.
One of the things that I’ve learned about being an Enneagram Type Four is that there is a pessimism that runs deep in us. Perhaps that was what was gnawing at me as I drug my feet in getting started. I feared failure. I wasn’t sure I was up to a task this big and the lofty expectation of my superior and the client.
Today’s chapter begins with the setting up of the Hebrew’s traveling tent temple, called the Tabernacle, in a town called Shiloh which means “place of peace.” This is a significant act. Since it was created in the days of Moses and their exodus from slavery in Egypt, the Tabernacle has been the center of their camp wherever they went as they wandered in the wilderness. Now that they’ve settled into the Promised Land, the Tabernacle will have a fixed spot, and Shiloh is, roughly, at the center. It will remain at Shiloh for hundreds of years.
The setting up of the Tabernacle in a fixed spot is a sign of the beginning of permanence in the Promised Land, but there are still seven tribes who haven’t received their inheritance. Joshua asks them what they are waiting for, and this suggests that there was some hesitancy on their behalf. An allotment of land came with the expectation and responsibility to drive the remaining inhabitants from it. The tribes who are left are smaller in size and strength. The largest of the tribes like Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh, already had their allotments and were busy settling their own lands. The smaller tribes could not depend on the aid of all the fighting men these larger tribes had at their disposal. The hesitancy of the smaller tribes may have been simply that they feared they didn’t have enough fighting men and military strength to get the job done.
We celebrated the resurrection of Jesus just a few weeks ago. His resurrection appearances were scattered across about 40 days before He ascended to heaven and left His followers with the task of taking His message to the world. Talk about a monumental challenge of a task. And there was no Elon Musk among them. Twelve largely uneducated men with no worldly wealth or power were tasked by the Son of God with changing the world.
I find it fascinating that Jesus’ “great commission” to His followers started with the word “Go.” He had told them in the Garden the night before His crucifixion not to worry when they were drug before rulers and princes. They would be given what they need to say and the power to say it in the moment they needed it. The first step was to “go.”
And, that’s where I was stuck with my major work project. I froze. I was sitting still. I was paralyzed like the seven tribes, hoping that maybe someone else with more experience and knowledge would miraculously show up and do it for me. Fortunately, I had a wise and learned boss who saw what was happening. He kicked me from behind, then grabbed my hand and pulled me along until I found my momentum. Our client said it was the best, most creative, and most empowering corporate training he’d ever seen in his career.
Mission accomplished. Yet, it wouldn’t have happened with that kick from behind and a pull to get me moving forward. I learned through that experience that when I’m feeling that pessimistic paralysis my first step is simply to “go” and get moving forward.
For example, almost every weekday morning I sit down at my keyboard to write this chapter-a-day post. Many days I’m tired, my brain is fogged over, and I stare at a blank screen. If I sit there waiting for a fully formed and structured thought to form itself in my brain I’ll sit there all morning. I’ve learned to just “go.” I start typing, and the words begin to flow.
That’s what happened this morning, in fact. And here was are at the end of my post, and the end of another work week.
Go…have a good weekend.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.